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GRCC football canceled

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By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief

Grand Rapids Community College has announced that effective immediately, the football program is canceled.

“It was best to make this decision in a time of transition when the program was looking for a new coach,” President Steven Ender said. “If Coach Tony Annese hadn’t left, this decision may not have been made at this time.”

Dana Harris was one of the GRCC football players in attendance at the announcement which was given to around 40 present and former players.

“Most of the players were very disappointed and mad when the announcement was made,” Harris said. “It was the first day back to school for the semester, our coach had just left and then they tell us this.”

Harris went on to explain that the timing of the announcement has also created problems for a lot of the players.

“GRCC did release each player’s letter of intent so players can try to go to another school,” Harris said. “It’s hard though with the semester already starting for players to get involved with other schools. Players needed to get into other schools to begin working with the programs and to participate in spring ball but it’s too late for that.”

“Most of the players on the team are looking to transfer to other schools,” Harris said when asked about the plans of his teammates. “A lot of the players want to continue to play Division 1 football so this decision is very important.”

GRCC and the athletic department, lead by Charles Wells who was unable to be reached for comment, has made it clear that it will do everything it can to help players who are planning on transferring in light of the recent announcement.

“If a player wants to transfer, we will reimburse them for this semester and then also help them with anything we can,” Ender said.

Ender also said the decision was made by the school because the program was costing close to $250,000 a year and also because of the travel issues the team had.

Ender expressed that although the decision was tough, it had to be done.

“In my mind, this decision should have been made a while ago,” Ender said. “The team travels to Georgia, North Dakota and Iowa to play games and players have to be taken out of class on Thursday’s or Friday’s to accommodate for team travel.”

Along with overall cost and travel issues, the program has caused the school to be in violation of Title IX. Title IX requires that the school’s athletic teams reflect the male to female ratio of the student body.

While the canceling of the program has created issues for the players, Ender explained that the school won’t have to fire any of the coaching staff because most already left when Coach Annese left.

The cancelation of the program also comes in the wake of recent allegations of improper developments with an area housing company.

“The canceling of the program had nothing to do with the allegations but the program was found to be in violation of certain rules by the NJCAA,” Ender said. “The NJCAA had announced that the program would have been on probation for the coming year and the team would not have been allowed to play in a bowl game.”

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